Manziel says he’ll be better

Published 3:27 am Thursday, December 18, 2014

BEREA (AP) — One game. One hard-to-forget, miserable game Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel would change if he could.

But as magical as he may have been on the field in college, Manziel can’t re-write history. His dreadful NFL starting debut against Cincinnati behind him, Manziel is determined to make the most of his second chance on Sunday at Carolina.

“Nobody wants that, but at the same time, one game doesn’t define you,” Manziel said Wednesday. “Really what defines you is how you bounce back from that and what you do the following weeks.”

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Manziel has two more weeks in the season to convince the Browns (7-7) they didn’t make a mistake when they moved up to select him in the first round of May’s draft. The 22-year-old is viewed as Cleveland’s future, perhaps the long-sought solution to a quarterback conundrum that has lasted more than a decade.

Even some of Manziel’s biggest supporters were alarmed by a performance in which he seemed to be in over his helmet.

There’s only one way for Manziel to remove the doubt.

“Play better, plain and simple,” Manziel said. “This position here is about results and getting the job done and you have to do that to be on the field in this league.”

Manziel said the bad first start is something he’ll remember forever.

“Unfortunately it leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but at the same time I’ve had bad games in college and had bad games in the past,” he said. “It’s part of football.”

Manziel threw a pair of interceptions and generally looked lost in the 30-0 defeat to the Bengals. Little went as planned in Cleveland’s biggest game this season.

Manziel said he got himself in trouble by second-guessing himself.

“I’m still continuing to work on that and have trust in the system and have trust in what my eyes are seeing,” he said.

“I’m seeing it right, now it just comes down to executing.”

A frequent theme this year, quarterbacks continue to be a daily discussion as the Browns cling to all-but-extinguished playoff hopes. On Monday, former Browns QB Bernie Kosar, a living legend to Cleveland fans, condemned the club’s front office for not showing patience at the position and said there’s a losing culture at the top of the organization.

Coach Mike Pettine, who had the Browns at 6-3 before their recent slide, said Kosar is off base and his comments were “a little dramatic.”

“He was one of my favorite guys growing up — heck of a quarterback — and he’s entitled to his opinion,” Pettine said. “But being here on the inside of it and seeing what we’re building and the interaction we have … the commitment is all there for us to be successful.”

He’s certainly not the first Cleveland coach to think that, even though the Browns last went to the playoffs in 2002 and are on their 21st quarterback in the expansion era.

“You’ve got to build the right way and make sure it’s rock solid,” he said. “We’re in the middle of that. I get people are going to have their opinions, but a lot more of that happens when you’ve lost three in a row. I didn’t hear a lot of that when we had just gotten our seventh win. “

NOTES: Pettine finally addressed the release of K Billy Cundiff, waived last week after he hurt his right knee practicing at FirstEnergy Stadium and his knee stiffened the next day. “There’s nothing below the surface with Billy,” Pettine said. … The Browns are expecting Panthers QB Cam Newtown to play Sunday. He practiced Wednesday for the first time since sustaining two back fractures in an auto accident. … Browns CB Joe Haden remains day-to-day with a shoulder injury.


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